Willow Grace Farm or Michael Lund Petersen’s Grace Adler came running late in the Grade 1 TVG Del Mar Debutante, then she went running right on by as she drew out to a galloping 11 1/4 length triumph in the 71st edition of Del Mar’s foremost race for 2-year-old fillies on Sept. 5.
The daughter of Curlin rated sixth in the eight-horse field as Elm Drive covered the opening quarter-mile in :21.78 before yielding the lead to Eda, who reached the half in :44.37. Grace Adler then made her move on the turn in the seven-furlong affair and showed her heels to her seven rivals. She was handled by meet-leading rider Flavien Prat, one of four winners he had on the afternoon.
“(Trainer) Bob (Baffert) just told me that she wasn’t as fast as the other fillies, but that she’d come running,” Prat said. “He was certainly right. It might have looked like I moved too early with her, but it was more a case of them coming back to me. We were going forward and they were coming back.”
Grace Adler earned $180,000 from the gross purse of $301,500, increasing her winnings to $222,000. She captured her only other start, a straight maiden race here on July 31. Baffert, Del Mar’s leading trainer with 142 stakes wins, was taking down his 10th Del Mar Debutante.
“I wasn’t happy with (Eda’s) position early because they were going way too fast up front,” Baffert said. “Grace Adler is a really good filly and when she started to make her move (from sixth) you could tell by Trevor Denman’s voice that she was really making up the ground. They’re both good fillies, it’s just too bad that (Eda) got caught up in a speed duel. It was set up for (Grace Adler).”
Finishing second was Red Baron’s Barn or Rancho Temescal’s Dance to the Music, two and three-quarter lengths ahead of Calvin Nguyen’s Bicameral.
Grace Adler returned $11.20, $4.80 and $4.20 for her score. Dance to the Music paid $5.00 and $4.20, while Bicameral returned $10.00 for the show.
The final time of 1:23.76 over a track rated fast.